Caste Atrocity in Maharashtra; Ph.D scholar attacked by Six men pointing Ashoka Chakra on his bike

The Colourboard

Adv. Sujit Nikalje (37) and his family were attacked out of caste rage by Six men from Maratha community at Phaltan taluka of district Satara, Maharashtra. Adv. Sujit Nikalje is pursuing Ph.D at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Due to lockdown amid the Covid 19 pandemic he went to his village Girvi, Taluka Phaltan.

On 6th September 2020, after finishing work at their farms, Sujit Nikalje his wife, brother Swapnil Nikalje and brother's wife decided to visit the nearby Pachikund waterfall.

The family reached the waterfall on their motorbikes around 12 pm. Six men from nearby village Hanmantwadi were already present there in the pond of the waterfall. When Nikalje family entered the pond, one of the six men came near Sujit's wife and touched her inappropriately. Disturbed by this, Nikalje family decided to move out of the pond.

These men started bragging about their ‘so called upper’ Maratha caste pride, some of them came close to the women again and asked them to come inside the pond; with no response from the women and watching them leave the place they threatened Sujit. Nikalje family then sat for lunch nearby.

After lunch, around 4.30 pm Sujit and his family headed towards their home. While on their way back, reaching midway, they stumbled upon these six men again who were now carrying sticks, Iron rods, and stones in hand. They stopped Sujit’s bike and started calling casteist abuses at Nikalje family pointing out to the Blue Ashoka Chakra sticker on their motorbike and their 'so-called lower caste identity as Dalits.'

When Sujit tried to talk to them, they shouted on him “Aye Mahardya, Dhedgya, tu khalchya jaaticha asun amchashi bhandan kartos” (Hey you Mahar, lower caste, you are arguing with us!) and they attacked Sujit with those iron rods, sticks and stones. When Brother Swapnil Nikalje tried to stop them, they attacked him as well, while continuously abusing both of them with casteist statements. They also threatened Nikalje family saying “Baghun ghein” (Will see you) indicating that it won't stop here and they might do more to hurt them later.

On the morning of 7th, September 2020, an FIR has been registered at Phaltan Police Police Station (Rural) against these Six men namely, Kunal Shivaji Gaikwad, Deepak Madhukar Gaikwad, Pramod Dadaso Pawar, Shubham Balaso Gejke, Yogesh Vijay Jadhav, and Shrikant Sanjay Nikam under Section 324, 354 (a), 143, 147, 148 of Indian Penal Code 1860 and Section 3 (1) (r) and 3 (2) (va) of The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. None of the accused have been arrested till now.

Adv. Sujit and his brother are taking treatment in the Spandan Care Hospital at Phaltan where Sujit Niaklje had to go through surgery with 8 stitches on head and both brothers have got several injuries on neck, shoulder and back.

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